Topic 1: Conservation of Biological Diversity


Biodiversity is central to sustainable forest management. All the different schemes for criteria and indicators consider it, and under international protocols, biodiversity has its own convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity. This Convention, which dates back to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, deals with the conservation of biological diversity, as might be expected, but also deals with the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and fair and equitable sharing of any benefits gained from the use of genetic resources. The text of the Convention can be found at:

Maintaining the biological diversity of forests presents many challenges for forest managers. Biological diversity varies over time and space, and during the time that it takes a stand to grow, many different species will come and go. Some species require very specific habitat conditions that may only be present for a short period of time, others require large areas of relatively undisturbed habitat, and yet others specialize in using recently disturbed habitats. For example, pyrophilous beetles are beetles that specialize in utilizing recently burned areas. Examining the biodiversity in a forest at any given point in time provides only a snapshot of a complex and constantly changing ecosystem.

However, as will be shown in this topic, even the prospect of examining biodiversity is fraught with serious problems. There is nowhere on Earth where a complete inventory of all the species present has been conducted, although complete inventories of some taxonomic groups, such as birds, mammals and higher plants have been completed for many part of the world. Several different strategies have been taken to overcome this problem. The most common is to assess habitat (the flora), including both the composition and the structure, rather than the fauna. Plants are much easier to assess than fauna (animals, birds, insects, etc.) as they are static and to an increasing extent can be assessed by remote sensing techniques such as Lidar (see for a description of this technique).

Video Lectures

2.1.1 What is biodiversity?

2.1.2 The current status of biodiversity

2.1.3 Causes of species loss

2.1.4 International mechanisms to conserve biodiversity

2.1.5 How do we measure biodiversity?

2.1.6 Conservation of biological diversity in British Columbian forestry

2.1.7 Biodiversity indicators – an Australian case study


Textbook Reading:

  • Chapter 3 of the course textbook:
    Innes, J., & Tikina, A. (Eds.). (2014). Sustainable forest management: From principles to practice. London: Earthscan Publications. ISBN: 1844077241

Further Reading:

This intended to point you towards some useful resources. There is not an expectation that you read all of these.

  • Bunnell, F.L., & Dunsworth, G.B. (Eds.) (2009). Forestry and biodiversity: Learning how to sustain biodiversity in managed forests. Vancouver: UBC Press. Retrieved from
  • D’Eon, R.G., Johnson, J.F., & Ferguson, E.A. (Eds.) (2000). Ecosystem management of forested landscapes. Directions and implementation. Vancouver: UBC Press. Retrieved from
  • Gardner, T. (2010). Monitoring forest biodiversity: Improving conservation through ecologically-responsible management. London: Earthscan. ISBN: 9781844076543
  • Grieser Johns, A. (1997). Timber production and biodiversity conservation in tropical rain forests. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Online ISBN: 9780511525827; Hardback ISBN:9780521572828; Paperback ISBN:9780521607629. Book DOI:
  • Hunter, M.L., & Schmiegelow, F.K.A. (2011). Wildlife, forests and forestry: Principles of managing forests for biological diversity (2nd). Boston: Prentice Hall. ISBN-13: 978-0-13-501432-5
  • Kettle, C.J., & Koh, L.P. (Eds.) (2014). Global forest fragmentation. Wallingford: CABI Publishing. ISBN-10: 1780644973; ISBN-13: 978-1780644974
  • Lindenmayer, D. (2009). Forest patter and ecological process: A synthesis of 25 years of research. Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN: 9780643096608
  • Lindenmayer, D.B., Burton, P.J., & Franklin, J.F. (2008). Salvage logging and its ecological consequences. Washington, DC: Island Press. ISBN-10: 1597264032; ISBN-13: 978-1597264037
  • Lindenmayer, D.B., & Fischer, J. (2006). Habitat fragmentation and landscape change: An ecological and conservation synthesis. Washington, DC: Island Press. ISBN: 9781597260213; ISBN: 9781597266062
  • Lindenmayer, D.B., & Franklin, J.F. (2002). Conserving forest biodiversity: A comprehensive multiscaled approach. Washington, DC: Island Press. ISBN: 9781559639347; ISBN: 9781597268530
  • Villard, M.-A., & Jonson, B.G. (Eds.). (2009). Setting conservation targets for managed forest landscapes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9780521700726
  • Voller, J., & Harrison, S. (Eds.). (1998). Conservation biology principles for forested landscapes. Vancouver: UBC Press. ISBN: 978-0774806299


Module II - Topic 1: Self-test

Quiz Description:

The following self-test quiz is designed to check your understanding of important learning concepts for this topic. The quiz contains ten multiple choice questions. There is no time limit for you to take the quiz and you may attempt to take it as many times as you like. After you click the Submit button, you will see your Grade, number of Correct Answers, your answers, and the Answer Key for each question.

Quiz Instructions:

While you are taking the quiz, we advise you not referring to any course materials. After you Submit your answers, you may self-reflect the missing points, review relevant contents as necessary, and retake the quiz again until you get the full points

Answer the following questions to see how well you have learnt in this topic: